Mostly following beginner friendly blue-rated trails, these carefully built tracks are hard packed and a little stony. This means that they’re great to ride year-round if you want to avoid the worst of the slop on more natural bridleways and byways, though it’s best to pack your waterproof socks as there’s likely to be a puddle or two in the wetter months!
While Cardinham Woods certainly features more climbing and descending as you wind your way around the edges of the river valley, the trail options at Lanhydrock are generally flatter, so better suited to families with young riders or those with a more limited gearing range.
You can find a cycle hire centre in Lanhydrock, where you can pre-book both adult mountain bikes and a range of children’s bikes.
Just a short stretch of road separates Cardinham Woods and Lanhydrock (and a hill, as it is Cornwall after all), so it’s easy to ride both areas in a single ride, both conveniently pedal-able from Bodmin.
Enjoy the woods on the turn in autumn for a vibrant display of colour, or through the winter as you’re never too far from town. Multiple great cafe stops along the way also mean that you’re never too far from a warming hot chocolate, hearty bowl of homemade soup or glorious cream tea!
Both Cardinham Woods and Lanhydrock Estate have pay and display car parks, though for this route we propose you can ride out of central Bodmin to enjoy them both in a larger loop, showcasing just how accessible these trails are from the town.
The Beast of Bodmin in Cardinham Woods
To avoid the busier roads, head out of Bodmin using a few residential streets and a gravel track before crossing over the A30 Bodmin Bypass. Here you’ll turn onto a bridleway track across the fields of a wind farm, which then leads you down into the heart of Cardinham Woods and straight onto the blue-rated ‘Beast of Bodmin’ mountain biking trail.
The Beast of Bodmin is very well signposted, which makes navigation through the woods easy as you alternate between sections of singletrack and linking fire road. Due to the steep valley sides, the trails are built with numerous switchback turns to help you climb more gently, though they’re often tight and a real test of your bike handling skills! The first major descent you’ll reach is named ‘The Whip’, which features no less than 10 of these 180 degree turns as you head down the hillside.
After climbing your next section of hairpins, you’ll have the choice of continuing to follow the blue trail, which takes you onto an easy fireroad section, or to try the intermediate-level red-rated alternative, named ‘Dialled In Dave’. The red is fun and flowy, and even though there are some challenging rock steps to ride up, there’s also a second, much more gentle climb option if you prefer.
‘The Cribbar’ descent soon follows, which many tout as their favourite part of the Cardinham trail. A series of rollers test your pumping skills, and wide, supportive berms help you corner with ease.
From here you wind your way back down the valley to the south of Cardinham Water, and you’re soon in for a treat when you reach the car park. No visit to Cardinham Woods would be complete without a visit to the Woods Cafe, a gorgeous little tea room housed in a stone cottage serving up delicious food and drinks year-round.
After a refuel, make your way to Lanhydrock by following the lane climb out of Cardinham Woods and along the flatter Turfdown Road.
Lanhydrock Estate cycle trails
Rather than turn into the Lanhydrock Estate at the impressive stone gatehouses, nip onto the cycle trail to the left of the road through the gap in the stone wall. Straight onto leafy singletrack, this short climb leads you to an open area where you’ll find the start of the green Lodge Trail, blue Bazley’s Trail and a handy map of the estate and its seven cycle routes.
Here our suggested route takes in the blue loops including Bazley’s Trail, Walter’s Trail, Timber Trail, and Hart Trail, though there is also a red-rated Saw Pit loop to add if you fancy it. A whizz around the skills area comes highly recommended though, for some fun tabletops, rollers and big berms to finish.
You’re close to the Lanhydrock cafe and cycle hub, so why not pop by for some refreshments while you hang your bike up on the dedicated rail outside the cycle hub opposite.
Before heading back into Bodmin, pedal down the tarmac driveway to gaze at the impressive Lanhydrock House and formal gardens. The late Victorian country house is built from granite with a large barbican gatehouse.
While some of the oldest parts date back to the 1620s, the majority of the building work was undertaken in the 1800s following a fire that devastated most of the house. Today the National Trust manages the property, which makes for a fascinating tour, though perhaps best saved for another day when you’re less mucky!
Back into Bodmin
A great cycle link leads you back into Bodmin from Lanhydrock, which forms part of the National Cycle Network Route 3. The cycleway avoids the main road to take you across a traffic-free bridge over the A30 and through woodland to Respryn Road. The last section follows the main road down past the Bodmin and Wenford Railway and into central Bodmin.
All routes are followed at a rider’s own risk. These routes are intended to be general guides: please observe all road signs, waymarks and other specific on-route instructions. Neither Cycling UK nor individual route authors can be held responsible for any errors or consequences that arise from using this route information. Essentially: go out, be sensible, have fun. If you believe there is an important issue with this route then please report it using the button below.